Rescued manatees leave Ohio zoos, back to Florida

Woodstock: Compliments of the Cincinnati Zoo
Woodstock: Compliments of the Cincinnati Zoo

CINCINNATI (AP) - Three female manatees have returned to Florida from two Ohio zoos in a rehabilitation program.

One manatee from the Cincinnati zoo and two from the Columbus zoo were flown to Florida this weekend. Officials billed it as the "Sea Cow Shuffle."

The Cincinnati manatee, Woodstock, and one of the Columbus manatees, named Wheezy, suffered cold stress and were rescued separately in January 2011. The third manatee, Pixie, was found alone in shallow water in July 2010.

The aquatic mammals may be released this winter in the Florida waters where they were rescued. For now, they're in the care of experts at Miami Seaquarium, SeaWorld Orlando and Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.

The Ohio zoos will care for new manatees under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership.

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